Finding Nero: shining a new light on Romano-British sculpture

Miles Russell and Harry Manley

School of Applied Sciences, Bournemouth University. Email: /

Cite this as: Russell, M. and Manley, H. 2013 Finding Nero: shining a new light on Romano-British sculpture, Internet Archaeology 32.


images of Nero

This article discusses the use of 3D laser scanning as an objective means to record and identify damaged Roman portraits in stone, in this case three mutilated images recovered from Romano British contexts that can now be identified as being of the fifth emperor of Rome, Nero (AD 54–68). The potential significance of such sculptured pieces has frequently been overlooked and the portraits themselves have, to date, made little or no contribution to the understanding of Roman art, the nature of imperial identity, the dissemination of artwork throughout the Roman world, the worship of the head of state in the provinces, or the development of Britain following conquest and assimilation by Rome. This report represents the first stage of a wider project set up to create a 3D digital database of Roman portraiture and the subsequent dissemination of datasets in an educational and interactive format.


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